Weather-proof Your Wedding Day: Part 1 – Rain
Are you planning an out- door ceremony, cocktail hour or reception for your big day? An outdoor wed- ding can be absolutely spectacular, but it pays to be ready in case the weather turns sour. Rain, hail or shine (well – more precisely – rain, temperature or wind), tune in to Reflective Bride for the next two weeks for some tips on preparing for everything Mother Nature might throw at your wedding.
For our nuptials, we had a beachside wedding and a forecast for wedding day storms the entire week before our big day! Luckily in the final two days, it downgraded to rain and then only rain in the evening… then, on the day itself, the downpour didn’t come until 1am. Phew! However, we did prepare for a wet wedding… only to then have a warm, windy wedding thrown at us!
Ah, every bride’s biggest fear. Even if you are organizing your wedding in the driest month of the year (as we did), it is still possible that it could rain on your special day. You have to consider not only you and your guests getting wet (and a good quality suit is never happy to get rained on), but also things like instruments or electrics for your music or microphones. Here are 5 tips for rain-proofing your big day.
• Back-up plan: Always, always, always have a covered wet-weather Plan B for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception venues. Optimism is wonderful and you may have to pay a hire-fee to book a sheltered venue (even if you don’t end up using it), but you’re ultimately paying for peace of mind… it’s too much of a risk having your wedding day rained out. The easiest thing is to have your Plan B nearby your Plan A, to avoid confusing guests at the last-minute about where to go. (For example, our back-up ceremony location was the terrace outside our reception room.) Consider booking your wedding at a venue that can accommodate both indoor and outdoor eventualities if the weather goes awry. Also, if you have a marquee wedding you will be undercover, but be ready to move the planned spot to higher ground so rainwater doesn’t build up in the ground.
• Deadline to decide: We asked all our ceremony vendors – the officiant, decorator and musicians – what’s the latest time they can be told that we’re switching to our Plan B location. The decorator needed the most time (four hours), so we decided that 4.5 hours before the ceremony would be the deadline for when we needed to decide about shifting locales. (The trouble is of course that rainy weather in the morning can clear by the afternoon and vice versa, so also keep an eye on the weather forecast.) Make sure you have all your vendors’ phone numbers ready in one place so that ringing around doesn’t add more stress to your day.
• Communication plan: It might be too much detail to squeeze on to your wedding invitation, but if you have a website for your big day include there information about the wet-weather Plan B location, or add a “rain card” insert to your invitation. That way, everyone already has the information about where to go. Also mention there how and when guests will be informed that you’re switching to Plan B. For example, we told our guests that they would be notified by SMS before midday. We created a survey for our guests to find out their dietary requirements and if they wanted to join our hired mini-buses, and asked in the same place for their phone numbers. We then made a phone tree where my groom and I would just need to tell five people of our decision to move, and then they would have a list of 10 people each they needed to call: my sister would call our family members, the groom’s father would call their relatives, the best man and a bridesmaid would inform the respective school friends, and another friend would reach out to our university friends. Remember that each couple in your guest list needs to receive only one phone call, so you’re not doing double work contacting both people.
• Marquees and umbrellas: Book with your decorator a marquee to cover your guests, but ask if it’s possible to pay for it only if you end up using it. (That’s what we did.) Musical instruments can’t get wet, so if you have live music also arrange some cover for your musicians. Whether or not you have a marquee, you will also need umbrellas to get to and from the wedding unscathed. Buy giant golf umbrellas to cover a larger wedding gown, or to huddle several bridesmaids together. If you’d rather wait with buying, at least find out your nearest place to get the umbrellas and put someone in charge of buying them there on the morning of the wedding. If you are getting umbrellas, try a bridal white or match them to your color scheme, or go for a rainbow of colors for some fun bridal party pictures!
• Photo plan: If you are planning to hold your ceremony or wedding outside, it’s most likely you’re also planning to do your photos outdoors. Talk with your photographer to plan out alternative sheltered locations for your photo shoot (This is a good reason to hire a photographer family with the area, rather than an out-of-towner.) Consider the photographer’s studio, or even a café, store, library or art gallery – perhaps a spot that says something about you as a couple! Keep in mind though that moody clouds make an awesome backdrop for wedding pictures, and shots of you two crazy kids kissing under an umbrella will look very romantic. (Gum boots on a bride and her bridesmaids make for a cute photo, too!) Or make use of your umbrellas and brave the wet weather if you really are keen on outdoor photos.
Are you expecting rain on your wedding day? What help and back-up plans are you preparing to get around Mother Nature?